Under the Dome
State Legislative Update
Inside state energy policy with CCIA's legislative team
March 22, 2017
Dispatches from Colorado's Gold Dome 

We have officially crossed the midway point in the session and that means more hearings, late bills being introduced and looming budget battles. Last Friday, the final budget forecast before the annual budgetary "long bill" is introduced was heard in committee. Despite a raft of good economic indicators for Colorado's economy the state budget is pretty rough. In the Governor's budget request, revenue projections are estimated to create a $700 budget deficit. This situation is primarily due to conflicting and complicated constitutional budget constraints.

What does this mean for the cleantech business community? Unfortunately it means we will have less funding for the important Advanced Industries Accelerator grant program next year and less money available for new bills. On the upside, several bills we are supporting are moving forward that have a good shot at becoming law. 

Bill Updates
CCIA Sponsored Legislation  
HB 17-1090 Advanced Industries Investor Tax Credit - Once again CCIA is teaming up with CBSA to provide targeted incentives to help Colorado's innovative business community.  This bill will extend the current investor tax credit program currently in place till 2018 for 5 years (till 2023) an doubles the annual amount of tax credits available to $1.5 million/year.  Qualified investors who invest in start ups and early stage companies can get a tax credit up to $50k per company per year.  Passed the House Business Finance Committee 11-2 and is currently waiting for Appropriations Committee action after the budget process is complete. CCIA Position-Strong Support.  

Miscellaneous Bills   
HB 17-1116 Continue Low Income Household Energy Assistance Program - extends the current program funded through severance tax money for 5 years to 2023.  Passed the House and is waiting on Senate Ag., Natural Resources & Energy Committee action. CCIA Position - Support
HB 17-1200 - Update Public Benefit Corporation Requirements - a clean up bill r/t existing B-Corp statute allowing for more flexibility and clarity for share holders, how a company can identify itself as a B-Corp and clarifies reporting requirements. Passed the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee unanimously and is waiting for Appropriations Committee action.  CCIA Position - Strong Support.
HB 17-1225 - Electric Regional Transmission Organization Hearing - requires the interim Transportation (& Energy) Legislative Review Committee (TLRC) to hold a hearing on Colorado utilities joining a RTO and related renewable energy issues after the session.  Waiting on a House Transportation & Energy Committee hearing on 3.30.17.  CCIA Position - Support.
HB 17-1227 - Electric Demand-side Management (DSM) Program Extension - extends the current DSM program for investor owned utilities ten years to 2028 with a 5% peak demand and energy savings reduction goal based off of a 2018 baseline year. Waiting on a House Trans. & Energy Committee on 3.29.17.  CCIA Position - Support.
HB 17-1232 - Public Utilities Alternative Fuel Motor Vehicles - allows investor owned utilities to rate base investments in electric vehicle and natural gas infrastructure.  Additionally, provides guidance to the PUC to factor in overall grid benefits, customer equipment choice and consumer protections.  Waiting on a House Trans. & Energy Committee hearing on 3.29.17. CCIA position - Strong Support.

SB 17-047 Additional Incentives, Beneficial Use Waste Tires - decreases the waste tire fee over time and reconfigures the allocations for the fund. Waiting for a Senate, Agriculture, Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing.  CCIA Position - Monitor

SB 17-089 Allow Electric Utility Customers to Install Energy Storage Equipment - limits the battery storage interconnection and other fees for a small storage system.  Also, limited solar PV and storage to one overall utility meter.  Bill died in the Senate Business, Labor & Technology Committee. CCIA Position - Monitor.

SB 17-105 - Consumer Right to Know Electric Utility Charges - Codifies certain requirements, including monthly fuel source cost increases (if any), (future?) demand charges, and every six months a fuel source percentage breakdown on an Investor Owned Utility customer bill. Passed the Senate and is waiting on House Transportation & Energy Committee action. CCIA Position - Monitor.
SB 17-145 - Electric Utility Distribution Grid Resource Acquisition Plan - directs Investor Owned Utilities to prepare to the PUC, proposals to integrate distributed energy resources into their plans to acquire new infrastructure. 'Distributed energy resources' is defined to include renewable distributed generation facilities - rooftop solar, energy storage, electric vehicles, and other features of an improved and diversified electrical grid architecture. Postponed Indefinitely by the bill sponsor in the Senate Ag., Energy & Natural Resources Committee.  CCIA Position - Monitor.

SB 17-179 - Fee Limits for Solar Energy Device Installations - extends the current $500 cap a county or municipality can charge for a residential solar array and $1,000 for a commercial system that is less than 2 megawatts.  Extends the caps 7 additional years to 2025.  Passed the Senate Unanimously and is waiting on House Transportation & Energy Committee action.  CCIA Position - Strong Support.

SB 17- 188 - Repeal Innovative Motor Vehicle Tax Credits - authorizes a statewide ballot initiative to repeal the current alternative fuel vehicle tax credit starting in 2018 and transfers the funds that would have been awarded as credits to the Highway Users Trust Fund (HUTF).  This repeal applies to ALL vehicles in the tax credit program - electric vehicles, propane, natural gas and hydraulic hybrids. Passed the Senate Finance Committee and was heavily amended to repeal EVs in 2018 and phases heavier duty vehicles one to two years early when compared to the existing sunset date.  CCIA Position - Strong Opposition.

SB 17-213 - Automated Driving Motor Vehicles - sets the parameters and regulations for autonomous vehicles to operate and to move forward with pilot projects.  Was amended and passed the Senate Transportation Committee and is now waiting on Senate floor action.  CCIA Position - Support.

SB 17-252 - Utility Cost Saving Contracts for Local Governments - this is a clean up bill r/t existing energy performance contract (ESCO) statute which would allow increased meter accuracy to be an included measure in a performance contract and in particular water meters. Scheduled for a Senate Local Government Committee hearing on 3/23/17.  CCIA Position - Support.

If you would like to become active in CCIA's policy committee, or if you have a question about one of the bills listed above, please feel free to contact me at  cvotoupal@hpfirm.com

Chris Votoupal 
Heizer Paul LLP

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